A new report on the fallout from New York’s “top down” response to the pandemic is offering insights into what went wrong in other states with Democratic governors who took a similar approach.

Much like New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, and others abandoned prepared plans, choosing instead to impose unprecedented pandemic policies through executive orders that made little sense to the public, sowing widespread confusion and distrust in the government.

Go Ad-Free, Get Content, Go Premium Today - $1 Trial

Like Michigan and other states, New York “frequently disseminated directives to the public via press releases and media interviews without first coordinating messaging with the relevant state regulatory and enforcement agencies,” according to the independent New York State COVID-19 After Action Report.

“Not only was the messaging about the directives uncoordinated, but the State’s assumptions about the capabilities of relevant agencies and organizations to support and enforce the directives were frequently incorrect,” it read. “In cases where local response partners issued conflicting messaging or were categorically unable to support or comply with the directives, it damaged the public’s trust in both state and local response competencies.”

Michael Van Beek, director of research at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, notes that hundreds of executive orders from Whitmer meant “she reversed herself often, mandating one policy one day and then abandoning it in the next order.”

“It became a sort of mystery science, where one could only guess at the slippery rationales the governor used to make her decisions,” Van Beek wrote.

Go Ad-Free, Get Content, Go Premium Today - $1 Trial

The effect was the same in Michigan as New York, where the report found “certain policies, such as allowing bars to open under specific conditions while keeping schools closed and inconsistent mask-wearing guidelines were viewed as contradictory and difficult to rationalize to the public.

“State and local agencies struggled to message these inconsistencies effectively, straining the relationships with their communities,” the report read.

That was evident in Michigan, where “essential” workers exempted from some of Whitmer’s edicts included folks who sold marijuana and liquor, and in Kentucky, where Beshear ordered the Kentucky State Police to record the license plates of residents attending Easter Sunday church services.

The result in Michigan, Kentucky, and other states with Democratic governors with strict pandemic policies was essentially the same as New York: “Much of the public struggled to understand and appropriately implement public safety guidance as it was issued,” the report found.

“Eroding public confidence in the authority and competency of government officials, the public struggled to comply with many of the public safety directives issued, especially related to masking, social distancing, and vaccines,” it read.

“There appears, unfortunately, little interest in Michigan to examine and learn from Whitmer’s unprecedented use of executive power to respond to Covid-19,” Van Beek wrote. “But evidence is piling up that suggests her approach was a bad mistake.”

The New York report is one piece.

Other evidence came from the state Supreme Court, which struck down Whitmer’s pandemic edicts as an “unlawful delegation of legislative power to the executive branch in violation of the Michigan Constitution.”

Whitmer’s leadership during the pandemic also cost Michigan a quarter of its small- and mid-sized businesses, and 81,900 jobs, resulting in a state economy that took far longer than others to recover.

Perhaps the biggest mistake, however, was Whitmer’s decision to direct seniors infected with the coronavirus to return to nursing homes and other care facilities, where they fueled a massive wave of deaths the Whitmer administration has yet to acknowledge.

Despite widespread media reports that put the death toll at about 5,600, an investigation by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Charlie LeDuff found the real total is more than double, based on facilities omitted from the state’s data.

“The true number is more like 14,000,” LeDuff said. “That means Whitmer buried 7,000 corpses in a statistical mass grave.”

“That makes Michigan’s nursing home deaths by far the worst in America,” he said. “More than Florida, more than California, and almost as many as New York, which is twice as big and five times denser.”